Now that former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley has publicly offered himself up to be the next U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs (President Bush hasn’t yet made a selection), Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Romley’s successor, Andrew Thomas, have made it known they will oppose his candidacy. Thomas spoke to the Arizona Republic, saying that since Thomas took office, he has learned of mismanagement in the office and mistreatment of subordinates that he thinks disqualifies Romley. Included in the list: a jury verdict against Romley in a retaliation lawsuit brought in federal court by a former County Attorney employee, the lack of modern basic technology in the office such as voice mail, Romley’s lavish spending on himself, etc. In the past, blogs have pointed out that, like Jimmy Carter toward his successors, Romley has been undermining Thomas both in the media and behind the scenes since the first week Thomas took office, on things such as Thomas’ tough policies on the death penalty and sex offenders, which Romley opposes.
Arpaio hasn’t forgotten when Romley used to constantly take potshots at him in the media over his policies. Romley once went on the radio and criticized Arpaio’s jail policies while a riot was occurring in Tent City. With Romley gone, Arpaio and Thomas now work closely together in the fight against illegal immigration and public corruption. Romley, meanwhile, just finished a stint as a contract lobbyist for Terry Goddard in the Attorney General’s Office.
The good news for Romley is that he has support from Democrats…such as Congressman Harry Mitchell, who has endorsed him. A shrewd move for Mitchell: It allows him to show bipartisanship in his largely Republican district while helping him get rid of a potential challenger for reelection next year in Romley. Not that Romley would have much of a chance in the Republican primary in 2008 against David Schweikert or Jeff Hatch-Miller anyhow.